Thursday, November 03, 2005

Rosa Parks

I didn’t think much about Rosa Parks until she died last week, but for some reason, her death has stirred a lot of things within me. I came across the following quote of hers, with I think is profound:

“The time had just come when I had been pushed as far as I could stand to be pushed, I suppose. They placed me under arrest. And I wasn’t afraid. I don’t know why I wasn’t, but I didn’t feel afraid. I had decided that I would have to know once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen, even in Montgomery, Alabama.”

The reality of the lives we live today has been shaped by what Rosa Parks did. Her courage was the catalyst for change and justice in a social system that was clearly wrong. I wonder if the perpetrators of the racial injustices knew they were wrong, or were they just enjoying the power they had?

It is probably considered a privileged existence for me to have not lived through the turmoil of the 50s. Maybe that makes it easy for me to be astounded that this diminutive woman (in size, but not in spirit) took such a stand and risked her life. I have no reason to doubt her when she said that she was not afraid, but that is equally astonishing. It has been interesting to see some of her contemporaries sharing at the various memorial services in her honor. There is a whole horde of small, old black women who still speak to injustice with power and conviction!

I can’t help but wonder if I would ever have the courage to do anything like what she did. Only with God.

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